THE BLOG

Tea Party in U.S. and Libre in Honduras: Two Peas in a Pod

07/22/2013 06:22 pm ET | Updated Sep 21, 2013

One of the most common refrains from members of the Tea Party movement in the United States is "take back America." It is remarkably similar in resonance to the Libre Party's references to claiming Honduras for El Pueblo (The People). Even though the Tea Party consists largely of conservatives and libertarians, while Libre is made up of people on the opposite end of the political spectrum, both movements believe they are the only moral and rightful representatives of their society.

Both the Tea Party and Libre want to reclaim their nation from the political "elites" that they perceive have betrayed the interests of the people. Both blame the corporate elites for all of their problems... yet ironically both clamor incessantly for more jobs, seemingly oblivious to the role of private business in stimulating employment.

The main difference between the Tea Party and Libre is that the former apparently wants to uphold its country's Constitution, while the latter would prefer to dump its country's Constitution and start from scratch. Also, the Tea Party wants less government intervention so that the people can be freer and more prosperous, while Libre wants more government intervention so that people can be freer and more prosperous. Huh?

It's all very complicated and hard to sort out. How can two political movements with such radically different political philosophies be so eerily similar in what they want to achieve, and in their views of who are the culprits behind all that is wrong with their world? The answer is that both movements represent extremes -- one on the right and the other on the left. And political extremes tend to share more in common with each other than their followers would care to admit.

Both the extreme right and left use the same tactics and language -- tactics that emphasize fear and divisive partisanship and language that exudes self-righteousness and aims to belittle the other side. In other words: tactics and language that are painfully traditional, predictable, and unimaginative, and demonstrate the limited nature of humanity. Both the extreme right and extreme left like to boast that they are the holders of the truth, the heirs of their respective "Founding Fathers", and thus the sole legitimate voice of the people.

The problem is that political extremes, in fact, usually do not represent the vast majority of citizens because most people tend not to be ideologues. Most reasonable people understand that in order to live together in peace you have to find ways to engage in civil conversations and reach compromises... even sometimes at the expense of principles and values that you may hold dear. You have to accept the fact that no country belongs to any one particular segment of the population, and consequently that no movement has the right to claim it or retake it for itself.